From Tuesday 4 May until Monday 2 August 2021, dogs will be required to be on a lead in all areas of Richmond and Bushy Parks.
Over the next few months, around 300 deer will be born in these parks. The season marks a vulnerable time for female deer, who hide their young in bracken and long grass to conceal them from dogs and other perceived predators.
Simon Richards, Park Manager for Richmond Park, said: “During the deer birthing season, we strongly advise that dogs are not walked in either Richmond or Bushy Parks but, if this is not possible, dogs must be on leads in all areas of the parks.
Female deer are afraid of dogs harming their young. Concern for their newborn means they may act defensively towards dogs – they have been known to give chase and attack, even if the dog is at a distance and not acting provocatively. Dog walkers must remain vigilant, avoid areas of dense vegetation and stick to the perimeter of the park. As a dog owner myself, I know this can be frustrating, but it really is for the safety of both deer and dogs. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused and we thank all our visitors for their support with these measures.”
Deer are instinctively frightened of dogs and this fear has not been helped by recent events. There have been 55 reported incidents of dogs chasing deer since August 2020 (when dogs were allowed off leads again, following last year’s deer birthing season), bringing the total number of reported incidents to 90 over the past year. However, as many incidents go unreported, that figure is expected to be much higher. At least five deer have died as a result of these chases in the past year and a number of dog owners have appeared in court and been convicted for not having their dog under control.
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